Teeth can be altered or damaged in several ways during the course of a lifetime. Dental bridges are a restorative dental procedure designed to restore teeth leaving the appearance of perfect smile.
If installed properly, dental bridges can last the user up to fifteen years or more with good oral care and hygiene. Dental bridges are simple and can seldom be felt after installation.
How are they installed?
Dental bridges consist of a set of two or more teeth crowns. The crowns on the side are called abutment teeth as they are anchored on the existing teeth and lodged onto the damaged teeth. The abutment teeth are the main anchor of the bridge and should be properly placed to secure it. The anchor teeth need to be prepared beforehand by contouring and reshaping them in order to accommodate the crown, securing the bridge firmly in place. While the dental bridge is being prepared, dentists usually place a temporary bridge for the user to wear, which will protect the surrounding teeth and gums, as impressions of the teeth are made in the lab.
The middle bridge consists of false teeth called pontics, usually made from alloys, gold, porcelain, or a mixture of these components. If the surrounding teeth are not strong enough or damaged by impact, tooth implants are forged on both sides of the gap and anchor the bridge in the space.
Finally, the actual dental bridge will be installed and adjusted to fit well. As each individual is different, multiple visits will ensure the bridge works well when biting and general use.
Types of dental bridges
There are various types of dental bridges available in the market:
This is the most common type of dental bridge, consisting of one or more false teeth held together by crowns on either side. The crowns are then cemented on the anchor teeth, covering the missing teeth.
These bridges have one crown instead of two, and false teeth. Because of this, the teeth on the adjacent side should be strong enough to support the bridge.
These dental bridges seek to hold a false tooth by bonding the bridge to the existing teeth. They are usually made of porcelain or metal framework. As these dental bridges are bonded and not cemented in, they are usually used on teeth that do not require biting force.
These are normally used in instances where more than one tooth is missing. They are supported by implants and attached to the jawbone for maximum support. However, each tooth requires an implant when installing this type of bridge.
Benefits of dental bridges
As missing teeth elicit changes in your smile and face shape, dental bridges seek to restore it.
A standard bridge requires a maximum of two to three dental appointments to properly position the bridges. These bridges are lightweight and do not alter the oral composition.
Dental bridges also help protect existing teeth from chipping, corroding and drifting out of position. With these bridges, chewing and talking is also improved as force is distributed evenly in the mouth.
The bridges can be a welcome alternative to complex dental surgeries and restoration techniques, especially in patients with other health conditions. Patients with extensive graft procedures are likely to consider bridges over implants as they are less susceptible to rejection.
It is best to ensure oral hygiene through regular brushing, flossing of the teeth, and using mouthwash to prevent tooth decay and loss. Overall, diet and nutrition also prevent additional problems and protect the remaining teeth from damage.
Avoiding foods that are hard, sugary or overly chewy can prolong the life of dental bridges and prevent them from becoming loose or falling out.
It is advisable to seek a professional dentist to access the best treatment and placement of dental bridges.